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Calgary round table for murdered and missing aboriginal women hopes to spark national inquiry

Members of Calgary’s indigenous community are planning to put the pressure on the Harper government Friday afternoon.

As an invite-only national discussion on missing and aboriginal women takes place in Ottawa, there will be a round table, rally and round dance in our own city.

Host Josie Nepinak, who is also the Executive Director of Awo Taan Healing Lodge, says the round table will be all about sharing stories of loss and grief.

Nepinak says they want to give a voice and a face to the more than 1200 mothers, daughters, and sisters who have been taken away.

“I myself have had a family member who was murdered more than 35 years ago, and that remains a cold case in Winnipeg, Manitoba,” she said.

The hosts of the roundtable plan to send their own report to all levels of government, hoping it will spark a national inquiry.

Nepinak describes Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s stance on the issue so far as indifferent and insulting.

“If he cared, or if he represented, I guess rather, all Canadian people, then he would be representing indigenous women in a much stronger light,” she said. “The fact that this government continues to deny that this is an issue, is disrespectful and it’s shameful.”

She says not enough Canadians are aware of what’s happening in their own backyards.

“Although it is indigenous women that are missing in this country, we need all of you to participate and to support this initiative,” Nepinak said.

The roundtable takes place at the John Dutton Theatre from 1p.m.-3:30 p.m.

At 4 p.m., the community members will head to City Hall Plaza for the rally and round dance.